BUSD Projects Dour Budget Revisal; Considers Senior Celebrations

Photo courtesy Ryan Hirsch
Burbank Unified School District is considering ways to celebrate senior graduates.

Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Matt Hill expressed concern on Thursday about how Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised state budget, taking into account economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, will impact local schools.
With a projected $54.3 billion deficit due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown, Newsom proposed a $203.3 billion budget on Thursday that would significantly cut school funding.
“If this budget is implemented, it will drastically impact BUSD,” Hill stated in his weekly letter to the BUSD community. “The California School Board Association has made it easy for us to stress the need to protect education funding.”
Hill encouraged community members to follow the CSBA’s online link —p2a.co/lY0Zw5J — and email legislators about protecting educational funding.
The BUSD Board of Education will convene for a special meeting to “discuss budget scenarios and fundraising priorities” on Tuesday, May 19, at 7 p.m.

The board also continues to monitor health guidelines as it discusses the possibility of commemorating the class of 2020.
“If we can do something later this summer, we will,” Hill wrote. “If we cannot, we will plan for celebration/reunion events next year.”
The superintendent then expressed a sympathetic, congratulatory message to the seniors who had various events, including commencement and prom, canceled because of the pandemic.
“Our lives, especially yours, have been flipped upside down,” Hill said. “You have worked hard for 13 years to reach this point. This should be a time of celebration and reflection, but many of your senior year activities that you were counting on have been stripped away. While it’s nobody’s fault that this pandemic has happened, I want to say I hear you and feel your pain.
“So what do we do in times of crisis? We grieve. We each go through various stages of grief. It is not linear. It is not predictable. It is not the same for everyone. So no matter where you are in that process, please know we will get through this together. … Please reach out to those who you can count on and they will help you during this difficult time. For those of you who are ready to celebrate, I say congratulations!”
Hill reminds the graduating class to look forward and learn from the unusual experience from the past two months.
“You have your whole lives ahead of you. Learn from the past, enjoy today and plan for your future has always been advice that I try to follow, but I, like the rest of us, do not always follow that advice,” he added. “Instead, this crisis reminds me not to take for granted what I have today. Class of 2020, you have endured significant challenges, but you will be stronger because of them.”

No decision has been made on the reopening of campuses across Burbank in the fall as the board researches how other countries, states and local districts handle the situation.
Multiple scenarios are being prepared which will require flexibility from the state, but the final selection is dependent on the budget.
“We know that education will be different than our former school model and the distance learning model we just implemented,” Hill said. “As we receive more guidance, we will seek your feedback and will share more details about these models. Even though it can feel overwhelming at times, we are going to take this crisis as an opportunity to be creative and re-imagine education to meet the needs of our students, families and employees.”

The final day of BUSD meal distribution is Wednesday, May 20, but pandemic welfare benefits remain available through EBT for families in need of food. Those with children who already receive CalFresh, CalWorks or certain Medi-Cal benefits do not need to apply for the P-EBT cards, which were distributed this month.
Families with children eligible for the benefits and do not receive a card in the mail by May 22 must apply online before June 30. The online application is at ca.p-ebt.org.
For more information, visit cdss.ca.gov/pandemic-ebt.

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